Rats and cats and sunken ships

No cats in the story, but the rhyme is nice!

Maybe there is a cat…  Here at Bahia Santiago at the Playa Boquito end of the beach, where all the ramadas (beach restaurants) are,  there are several cats who help keep the beach restaurant’s floors clean.

On to the story…  

We returned here to Bahia de Santiago after a four day trip up to Barre de Navidad to do laundry and visit the French Baker and the Restaurant BAR Ramon where  they have the best chili relleno con camarones (in the world) !

Twas a windy afternoon when we arrived and we set anchor a bit close to friends, pulled it up than circled around a bit and finally reset anchor down wind a bit.  We were a little close to sv Rebecca in a busy anchorage, but they were OK with us….So we settled in for a bit of a rest after the grueling 5 hour trip.

IMG_20160226_093757311 (Copy).jpg

The rat:

While sated in the cockpit of sv Hajime, Jess leaned back and looked up a the inside of the bimini sun shade and through the covered clear vinyl skylight she saw what looked like a furry critter…  Maybe a member of the rodent family, maybe a rat?  A  fat little fellow.  I recreate the scene using a mouse, (from my PC) ha!

IMG_20160227_150236093 (Copy).jpg

We are thinking that since we have not touched dock in over two weeks, that maybe the rat came from a floating lily type mat of vegetation that came into Barra lagoon the day we left…  Maybe ratso floated in on the vegetation and then climbed aboard via the anchor chain?

We offered him the sea or a broom handle, he swam very well…

The ship wrecks: 

Liz on sv Vivacia hosted Jess and I on a snorkeling adventure over the big wreck at the west end of the anchorage here in Santiago Bay.  Jess was adventuresome, however,  I did not like the wreck much at all.  It is a bit frightening floating over a sunk big metal vessel with all kinds of dark places, holes, and fish type things JUMPING out at you!  So I was the fellow who stayed off to the side of the wreck and could come in to rescue anyone who got in trouble.

By the way…  Do not let those mean bullying girls shame you into doing something really dumb after calling you a shipwreck sissy.   What? Oh… maybe something like running an estuary inlet at max flow rate.  I’m sure it was at least 20 knots!


That was before we left for Barra de Navidad.

On our return it seems we took great pains to drop anchor (the second time)  directly on top of another wreck, this one in 20 foot of water.  This one not charted. And we were no more than 75 foot from where we had spent 4 days at anchor earlier.

Our snag was such that it made our effective anchor rode about 25 foot long.  straight down to the bottom and wrapped around some steel sheeting and ribbing from the old wreck.  When a swell comes along it pulls on the snubbed anchor rode pretty hard and jerks the boat around quite a bit.  We spent a restless night and Jim, shipwreck sissy Jim, dove on the problem the next morning and got the anchor and chain back from the demon of the deep, well 20 foot is pretty deep!


The coordinates of this wreck are:

Lat:  N 19 deg. 06.633 min.    Lon:  W 104 deg. 23.676 min.

and we added it to the Navionics data base…

Oh yes, we sailed by another shipwreck near Barra de Navidad, Los Llanitos went onto the rocks near Punta Graham during Hurricane Patricia in Oct. 2015.:



Los Llanitos

Jess notes on the anchor retrieval:

“Or the end of the chain story;  You may recollect that we spent all of last night jerking on a short chain, entangled around something on the bottom of the water here in the anchorage, surrounded by other boats with no apparent problem.

Jim boldly geared up and swam down to find—yes, another shipwreck.  You should know that while Liz and I were snorkeling over the shipwreck we planned on visiting,  Jim hovered offsides, refusing to come in and see it.  It spooked him.  So, what does Jim have to do?  Dive down 20 feet, locate our chain wrapped thrice around some steel plate on the sea bed, work it loose with the ribs of this wreck tickling his back and closing in over his head, and the moray eel squiggling out of it’s disrupted home, and who knows what else down there, including the ghosts of dead sailors.  So then, when he thought it was all done and all I had to do was reel in the chain, sure enough, it snags again.  He had to go back down 20 feet and get it off the rib, which he is sure reached out and grabbed it as it went past in a final effort to trap him in Davey Jone’s locker.

Why this is not marked on any charts?  I don’t know,  It’s on ours now.  It turns out that in 1959 Hurricane Number fifteen swept right over Santiago, and ran more than 50 ships aground in this very bay. At least three of them remain documented as ship wrecks, and we have now located all three.  That is not to say there aren’t more out here.  1800 people lost their lives, ashore and at sea.  And we never knew.

So, after the chain, we went in to town to do a little shopping, and Jim managed to fall down in the surf and get drenched  as we landed our dinghy.  That’s all well and good, it’s part of the life.  Then we got water over the bow as we headed back to the boat, and all of our veggies are officially, as the french would say, ‘pre-sale.’  We considered going down and cleaning the boat bottom after that, but somehow we didn’t have much faith that the world was going to be friendly to us.  Besides, I spilled boiling water on my hand yesterday and am effectively left handed for a little while .  It has been a challenging couple of days. (Yes, it is blistered on the palm, they are unruptured, and I hope to keep the skin there intact until it heals.  It only hurts if I grab things with it.  Yes, I have lidocaine burn gel and some special burn dressings if the skin decides to slough before my new skin gets organized under there.  Stop worrying.) (Besides, we are heading down to Zihuatanejo, where we have a relationship with the local doctor.  They dealt with Jim’s sea urchin infection and my case of montezuma’s revenge, so we know him.)

In any event, the plan is to head out Monday morning for Z town.  We will be traveling with Liz and Alan on Vivacia.  It’s a 200 mile passage, which works out on the order of 50 hours.

So, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  Tomorrow is a new day which we hope will not involve snarled anchors or kitchen mishaps.”



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2 Responses to Rats and cats and sunken ships

  1. elinorec says:

    So there’s one answer to the landlubbers’ question of ‘What do you do all day? “

  2. zipfslaw1 says:

    Back in the Navy, we had rat guards on the lines that secured us to the pier.

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